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No Name (1862)

by Wilkie Collins

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,3912813,582 (3.99)114
Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

No Name is a 19th-century novel by the master of sensation fiction, Wilkie Collins. A country gentleman is killed in an accident and his wife dies shortly after him. The blow is double for their daughters, who discover that they were born before their parents were married. Their sudden illegitimacy robs them of their inheritance and their accustomed place in society.

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English (25)  Spanish (2)  French (1)  All languages (28)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
A long book. Due to a chain of string of events two sisters are left penniless. The story focuses mainly on the youngest Magdalen. I didn't like Magdalen. She swung from cold calculating to extremely depresses. The parts that was told in letters was the most enjoyable. ( )
  nx74defiant | Jan 26, 2024 |
Magdalen and Norah Vanstone are the daughters of a wealthy landowner and expect to inherit a substancial legacy on the death of their parents. However a change in circumstances, and a catastrophic event will alter the course of their lives irrevocably.....nothing will ever be the same again. Collins was a prolific writer from the mid nineteenth century and his novels were often described as "sensation" but he did tackle and highlight issues of the time. No Name was in part a social commentary concerning the absurdity of the law as applied to children of unmarried parents. The storyline is a little incredible however the author, as a great lover of women, often has strong even devious female characters, and in the same breadth he is not afraid to show men as weak and pitiful unworthy of the reader's sympathy. The writing is fluid and very accessible, which is important as the page count is just under 800. I found myself engaging totally with the characters (not something I can always attain in modern thrillers) and hoping that the outcome for our 2 heroines would be favourable......Here are some examples of the descripitve prose....." a seductive, serpentine suppleness, so lightly and playfully graceful, that its movements suggested, not unnaturally, the movements of a young cat"......." whose personal appearance was little less than a triumph of physical resistance to the deteriorating influence of time"...." the elegant black gown in which she mourned the memory of Michale Vanstone was not a mere dress- it was a well made compliment paid to death".......If you have not already discoverd the delights of one of our great English authors then No Name is a superb novel to begin. Highly recommended :) ( )
  runner56 | Jun 4, 2023 |
Shall I tell you what a lady is? A lady is a woman who wears a silk gown, and has a sense of her own importance.
While I’ve read Collins’s more famous The Woman in White and The Moonstone, both several times, I hadn’t read the other two of what are considered his four major sensation novels: No Name and Armadale. I’m glad that I’ve begun to correct that oversight with this fun, well-plotted, and highly addictive book.

No Name is filled with deceit, disguises, death, and, of course, laudunum—tropes you would expect in a sensation novel, but handled here with Collins’s expertise with law at the forefront. The two sisters, Magdalen and Norah, who find themselves illegitimate and therefore cast solely on their own resources, are painted very convincingly, allowing Collins to comment on the social and cultural restrictions for women at that time in daily life as well as in the letter of the law.

Magdalen, in particular, is a very unusual Victorian heroine, the likes of which I’ve not encountered before, and which made me long to re-read Gissing’s The Odd Women. Magdalen’s tenacious desire to regain the fortune that is rightfully hers and her sister’s makes up the bulk of No Names’s plot, which journeys all over England and sees some of the finest and most delicious villains which only Collins can make sympathetic rogues and anti-heroes. While there is some high melodrama—what sensation novel doesn’t have melodrama?—I think it was used quite convincingly and deliberately here, less intrusive or annoyingly so than in some of the minor works of, say, Braddon or Mrs. Henry Wood.

For those in quarantine, self-isolating, and in need of a literary diversion or escape, might I suggest a hefty, 800-page sensation novel? No Name's a compulsive one to get lost in, for sure. ( )
  proustitute | Apr 2, 2023 |
Two young women who are"bastards" lose their parents$to a greedy cousin. Magdalen, the younger sister, vows to get their dollars back.

I read Volume I, so there is more to come, and I am looking forward to it ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
[b:No Name|45205|No Name|Wilkie Collins|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1388954088l/45205._SY75_.jpg|3242295] is [a:Wilkie Collins|4012|Wilkie Collins|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1192222099p2/4012.jpg]’ tour de force of a novel about a woman bent on what some might deem vengeance and what others might simply call justice. In case you were wondering, I am in the later group. The law having failed to be just, Magdalene Vanstone and her sister, Norah, find themselves disinherited from their father’s fortune. The circumstances of their loss is heartbreaking and the lack of concern for them shown by the uncle who profits from their misfortune is infuriating. Norah is the proper lady and accepts her losses with resignation, Magdalene, on the other hand, determines to set things right by hook or crook.

What ensues is a nail-biter. Wilkie Collins puts modern day mystery writers to shame! There are so many twists and turns it makes you dizzy, but every one has a purpose and leads somewhere. I cannot imagine being a Victorian and having to read this in installments. My poor husband is celebrating that I have finished, because by the second half I was scarcely able to break from it long enough to fix his dinner.

Having read several of Collins novels, and long been aware of his close friendship with Charles Dickens, I must say this is the one novel where I could spot Dickens’ influence most readily. Many of the characters had a markedly Dickens flavor about them, particularly the Wragges. But Collins does something of his own that separates him from Dickens for me: he builds a true mystery into his work. Yes, I know, we anticipate when reading Dickens and there are plot elements that we long to find the explanation for that are mysterious, but Collins’ novels have more of the feeling of the mystery is the thing, the how will she ever pull this off element, the what is in that letter he just stuffed into his pocket intrigue, the oh my God, please catch that train on time fearfulness. Dickens preys on the heart, Collins on the mind. ( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wilkie Collinsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Blain, VirginiaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McLenan, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Francis Carr Beard,
(Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England)
in remembrance of the time
when the closing scenes of this story were written.
First words
The hands on the hall-clock pointed to half-past six in the morning.
He produced ... five or six plump little books, bound in commercial calf and vellum, and each fitted comfortably with its own little lock. ... "Here is my commercial library: -- Day Book, Ledger, Book of Districts, Book of Letters, Book of Remarks, and so on. ... I consult my Books for the customary references to past local experience; I find under the heading, "Personal position in York," the initials, T. W. K. signifying Too Well Known. I refer to my Index, and turn to the surrounding neighbourhood. The same brief remarks meet my eye. "Leeds. T. W. K. - Scarborough. T. W.K. - Harrogate. T. W. K." - and so on.
His dingy white collar and cravat had died the death of old linen, and had gone to their long home at the paper-maker's, to live again one day in quires at a stationer's shop.
... the production of a visible excuse for wearing her veil. She
deliberately disfigured herself by artificially reddening the insides of her
eyelids, so as to produce an appearance of inflammation which no human
creature but a doctor - and that doctor at close quarters - could have
detected as false.
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Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

No Name is a 19th-century novel by the master of sensation fiction, Wilkie Collins. A country gentleman is killed in an accident and his wife dies shortly after him. The blow is double for their daughters, who discover that they were born before their parents were married. Their sudden illegitimacy robs them of their inheritance and their accustomed place in society.


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